Middle East Patriarchs Meet Diplomats : Call for Wiping Out Terrorists

Via OCP News:

BEIRUT (CNS) — Catholic and Orthodox patriarchs of the Middle East denounced attacks on Christians and called upon the international community to work toward eradicating terrorist groups.
The patriarchs met Aug. 27 at the Maronite Catholic patriarchate at Bkerke, north of Beirut, for a special summit to address the crisis in the region. They were later joined by the United Nations’ special coordinator in Lebanon and the ambassadors of the five permanent member-countries of the U.N. Security Council.
“The very existence of Christians is at stake in several Arab countries — notably in Iraq, Syria and Egypt — where they have been exposed to heinous crimes, forcing them to flee,” the patriarchs said in a statement after the summit and meeting with diplomats.
They lamented the indifference of both Islamic authorities and the international community over attacks against Christians, who have been in the region for 2,000 years.
“What is painful is the absence of a stance by Islamic authorities, and the international community has not adopted a strict stance either,” the patriarchs said.
“We call for issuing a fatwa (Islamic religious ruling) that forbids attacks against others,” they said.
“The international community cannot keep silent about the existence of the so-called ISIS,” the patriarchs said, referring to the Islamic State. “They should put an end to all extremist terrorist groups and criminalize aggression against Christians and their properties.”
The prelates’ meeting was a follow-up to their first summit Aug. 7. It also follows a trip by several of them to Irbil, the capital of Iraq’s Kurdish region, to give moral and spiritual support to the flood of Iraqi minorities driven from the Ninevah Plain by the Islamic State militants.
The prelates stressed the need for cutting off the sources of terrorism and called on the world’s major powers to deprive extremist groups of resources by compelling countries financing them to stop their support.
Solutions to the Islamic State crisis must involve “dealing with the reasons that produced the miseries in the Middle East,” and harmony must be restored between the components of these countries, they said.
“The international community must act and eradicate” the Islamic State, the patriarchs said. “This is required from the United Nations and the U.N. Security Council.”
“We must stop using extremists, terrorists and mercenaries and (stop) supporting, financing and arming them,” they said.
They also stressed “the necessity of working to liberate the towns of Ninevah and facilitate the return of the displaced to their homes, in addition to ensuring the security of these towns with local and international guarantees to prevent displacement.”
The patriarchs denounced the “bleeding” that continues in Syria and said the conflict there must be solved by “dialogue and through a political solution.” They criticized the international community for not resolving the April 2013 kidnapping of two Orthodox bishops in Syria.
The prelates applauded the region’s Christians, who “are committed to the values of the Gospel and the teachings of Christ” exemplified in their relationships with others, “including their Muslim brothers, who live with them in the same nations.”

Read on here.

 

Boko Haram Says Part of Nigeria an Islamic State

Theology and Society:

Boko Haram militants claim that they are turning Nigeria into an Islamic caliphate. The Muslim extremist organization is in control of three Nigerian towns, and continues to gain power and influence in the region, the Christian Headlines website reports today (August 29, 2014).

In video, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau is seen announcing, “Thanks be to Allah who gave victory to our brethren in Gwoza and made it part of the Islamic caliphate… By the grace of Allah we will not leave the town. We have come to stay.”

The militants conquered Gwoza on August 6, destroying homes and killing many residents. Some survivors fled to surrounding mountains, as well as bordering nation Cameroon.

Officials fear that Boko Haram is working with Islamic State terrorists, who have taken control of large regions of Syria and Iraq, and have given Christians in their seized land one of three choices: Convert to Islam, pay a non-Islam tax, or be killed.

 

 

Ebola Outbreak Accelerates

Volunteers working with the bodies of Ebola victims in Kenema, Sierra Leone, sterilize their uniforms on Sunday, August 24. Health officials say the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa is the deadliest ever.

CNN: Death toll passes 1,550 as Ebola outbreak accelerates, officials say

The Ebola outbreak “continues to accelerate” in West Africa and has killed 1,552 people so far, the World Health Organization said Thursday. The total number of cases stands at 3,069, with 40% occurring in the past three weeks. “However, most cases are concentrated in only a few localities,” the WHO said. The outbreak, the deadliest ever, has been centered in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, with a handful of cases in Nigeria. The overall fatality rate is 52%, the WHO said, ranging from 42% in Sierra Leone to 66% in Guinea….

 

Vatican Rejects Reports About Papal Assassination Plans

Italian press report has claimed that Islamist terrorists were preparing to assassinate Pope Francis – Vatican spokesman Lombardi: “The Vatican does not harbor special concerns in this direction”

Vatican City (kath.net/KNA/red) The Vatican has denied a report according to which Islamist terrorists were preparing an assassination attempt on Pope Francis. This lacks foundation, in the words of Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi. “There is nothing to be taken seriously. The Vatican does not harbor special concerns in this direction,” as the media quoted him on Tuesday.

On Monday, the Italian daily newspaper “Il Tempo” spread rumors, that fighters of the terrorist militia “Islamic State” were planning an attack on the Pope. Referring to Israeli sources, it was said that their leader, the self-styled “Caliph” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, had ordered attacks in Europe and in particular against Francis as “the greatest representative of the Christian Religion” and “support of false truth”.

Currently, the jihadists fighting in Syria and Iraq, are coming to Italy, militia mingled with the numerous refugees coming across the Mediterranean. Last week the Italian media reported that Italy is reinforcing its security measures. But a concrete suspicion of terrorism did not exist.

During the general audience on 13 May 1981 in St. Peter’s Square Ali Agca, surrounded by about 15,000 people, made ​​an attempt on John Paul II. The Pope barely survived.  There is still nothing certain known about the actual motivations and instigators of the Turkish-Muslim assassin. This assassination-Shirt by Pope John Paul II. (Rome Reports, Eng.)

Source

 

Terrorists Disguised as Nuns

DSS issues alert:

The Department of State Services (DSS) has warned the general pub­lic to be wary of persons of questionable charac­ters who may disguise in Catholic Church Reverend Sisters’ regalia to perpe­trate heinous crimes on innocent citizens.
According to a release signed by Deputy Director, Public Relations (DSS), Mari­lyn Ogar, msi, the warning became necessary following the alleged theft of some pieces of Catholic Church Reverend Sisters’ regalia at Sabon Gari, Kano, by unidentified persons, and the possibility of using same to launch terrorist attacks on the innocent citizens.
It reads: “On 20th August, 2014, about 0400 hours, some unidentified persons broke into a tailoring shop located at No.55 Odutola Street, Sabon Gari, Kano, and stole about thirteen (13) pieces of Catholic Church Reverend Sisters’ re­galia. With the recent trend of female suicide bombings in the country, the theft of these rega­lia heightens concerns about the possibility of terrorist ele­ments using same to perpetrate acts of terror.”
The security operative fur­ther called on the citizens to be vigilant and report any suspi­cious persons to the appropri­ate authority. “Consequently, this Service wishes to draw the attention of the public to this development, and to call on all citizens to be more cir­cumspect and exercise greater vigilance with users of such peculiar attires. We therefore enjoin all to continue to co­operate with law enforcement agencies through the provision of useful information on sus­picious activities within their immediate environment. This Service will continue to col­laborate with all stakeholders as we strive to keep our coun­try safe,” it added.

 

California Persecuting Christians

(One News Now) – Romanian Christians are familiar with persecution in their home country but they didn’t expect to encounter it in America.

The Holy Resurrection Romanian Orthodox Church struggled to find a place to worship in California. After finding a place in the Rio Linda area of Sacramento, church members discovered their biggest stumbling block is city government.

Brad Dacus, founder of Pacific Justice Institute, says one reason Sacramento gave for refusing permission was the location was near a bar, so the location might not be compatible with the neighborhood.

“Another reason given was that they said there were too many churches already,” says Dacus, whose law firm is representing the church. “You know, it’s not the business of government to dictate how many churches we need.”

Church members were shocked at the city’s attitude and observed that it reminded them of the hostilities they experienced in Romania, which had been ruled under Communism for almost 30 years during the Cold War.

The country’s most infamous leader was Nicolae Ceausescu, whose reign of terror included spying on and imprisoning churchgoers.

Dacus explains: “They recognized clear similarities of the hostility that they had experienced in Romania, being persecuted as Christians, and they were having some of the same kind of resistance to be able to have a place to worship here in the United States.”

The law firm reported in a press release that PJI attorney Kevin Snider spoke on the church’s behalf at a planning commission meeting, where a 5-0 vote approved the church’s plans

Source.

Farm Workers Accused of Pelting Colleague to Death with Oranges

The Independent:

Police in South Africa have launched an investigation as two rural farm workers are suspected of pelting their colleague to death with oranges.
The man died after the suspects allegedly argued with him, before they collected oranges and began throwing them at him, police Lt. Col. Moatshe Ngoepe said citing witness accounts.
“They started pelting the deceased with all those loose oranges, killing him on the spot,” Ngoepe said of the incident which took place near the town of Tzaneenm in the Limpopo province of northern South Africa.
Mr Ngoepe cautioned that an investigation was still underway and aspects of a case he described as “complicated” still had to be verified.
The man was declared dead at the scene and he had no “visible injury,” suggesting he may have suffered blunt trauma, according to Ngoepe. He did not comment on the cause of the argument that led to the assault.
The suspects were detained Tuesday and later released pending formal charges, which could include murder.
Police and prosecutors are now awaiting the results of an autopsy in the hope it will uncover more details of the man’s death.